RSPB Bempton Cliffs chooses plants not plastic

RSPB Northern England

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Plastic litter is having a huge impact on our oceans. Team members at Bempton Cliffs are acutely aware that as a marine site, they have a responsibility to reduce single-use plastics.

Plastic litter is having a huge impact on our oceans. Team members at Bempton Cliffs are acutely aware that as a marine site, they have a responsibility to reduce single-use plastics. 

So Visitor Operations Manager Scott Smith undertook a “plastics audit” to identify all such products in the grab-and-go refreshments offer and the team started to work on finding alternatives, such as sustainable cutlery and paper straws.

Over the last year, the reserve has updated its cold drinks range to eliminate plastic, so that all options are supplied in aluminium cans, glass bottles or recyclable Tetra Pak, including the aptly named “Water in a Box” which is already proving popular as a portable eco-friendly option.

This season, hot drinks will be in served in compostable Vegware cups that use plant materials instead of a plastic lining.  It’s this lining in disposable cups that makes them impossible for the reserve to recycle as no local facilities can handle the complex processing needed to separate the lining from the outer paper. Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for sustainability as these alternatives are more expensive, as Scott explained:

‘We’ve taken the decision to ask our customers to share our goal of reducing plastic waste, by increasing the price of our hot drinks by 5p per cup. This helps to cover the cost of these cups and lids. We feel confident our visitors will support our efforts to keep plastic out of our landfills and oceans.”

Customers bringing their own reusable cups will be rewarded with a 20p discount for helping reduce waste.  Re-usable ‘Keep cups’ are also available to purchase at the reserve.

‘Plastic in the food industry is ubiquitous, and often there’s no viable alternative. So we’re on a journey to find the most sustainable options for our visitors and doing what we can to reduce our footprint,” said Site Manager Alison Barratt. 

“The opportunity to experience a unique wildlife spectacle with nearly half a million seabirds can be inspirational. If we can show our visitors how actions in their daily lives can positively impact nature as a result of their visit here, then together we can all make a difference.’

Last Updated: Tuesday 3 April 2018

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